New toys

Actually, new tools is what they are. I bought some cool, new brushes for Photoshop and Painter from John Derry (one of the original authors of Corel Painter), and I've been trying them out on some projects for 123Print. I'm liking them very much! The Photoshop brushes make Photoshop behave much like Painter, which simplifies my workflow considerably. Everything I do in Painter I have to bring into Photoshop anyway, so now I can do it all in one place. Here are a few things I've tried...

While I was watching (I guess listening really) to one of John's videos about using the Dry Media Brushes, I painted along, too, in Photoshop. He painted an apple and I decided that was a good place to start just for fun.
Having completed that, I thought I'd try out the brushes on some real work...
The cover and inside to holiday greeting cards went very smoothly and the client approved!
So, I tried again...
And, again they liked the result.
John's Artist Brushes for Photoshop and Watercolor Brushes for Corel Painter are equally as cool! And, when buying one of these, I messed up—hadn't had my first morning cup of coffee yet. I contacted John and heard back right away with a fix for my problem. From his emails he sounds like a great guy!
Thanks for the help John, and keep those new toys... er... tools coming!

Oh Poop!

This morning I got pooped on. Really. Pearl got all nervous on the way to the groomer and it was flying poop in the car. So I set her down on the grass (freshly MOWED grass) next to the groomer's to see if she was done, and she started to run away! I ran after her, picked her up and my favorite light tan shorts got smeared in grass clippings and stains. I had other plans but had to come home to get cleaned up. Forget the other plans. I thought about going back to bed. But, I pushed past the humiliation and despair and sat down at my computer. That's a good thing. It would've been real easy to forget it all after what happened. So, instead I cranked out a few more of the bulletin board pieces.

Ok, so they weren't ALL done today. But these are the ones I've finished up since the last post. Seeing them all together like this, I'm realizing I need to do some tweaking on the color for balance. Another good thing.
Then I played around with some gouache while listening to some good music—a little Death Cab and some Iron and Wine—some of Rachel's favorites I think.

Gouache and Micron pens on watercolor paper
I've recently seen quite a bit of this kind of pattern used a lot, especially in gouache. Thought I'd try it myself. It was fun and mindless. Not a bad thing.
Then I painted some lettering—a very favorite Torah quote—from the Torah portion that both girls chanted at their bat mitzvahs.
Gouache on watercolor paper
I did it freehand—no sketching before—just me and a paint brush, some nice chalky, matte gouache on a blank white sheet of paper. Fun. And nice to get past the fear of making mistakes without lots of planning ahead, even for something that doesn't really matter. Do you understand what I mean?
Now I'm going to check the laundry and see if the poop and grass stains came out of my shorts.

Back to Work

With the wedding behind me I thought I'd get a chance to relax a little. No such luck. I got a call from a client I've worked with for years but hadn't heard from lately. Their work has been down considerably in the last couple of years with the economic downturn. Well, it's looking up now and they had a big assignment for me. I'm working on bulletin board classroom sets.  Here's a peek at the concepts I've sent over to them. Lots of bright colors for little kids. 

Next up: 123Print wedding invitations! 

Wedding Invitations

I meant to get the photos of the wedding invitations up in a post a short while ago, but as always, I forgot to  follow through on that. Too much "real" work. So, I snapped a few photos tonight before the sun got too low. And, without further ado, here they are...

The envelope
Peeking out of the envelope
Front cover

All of the inserts
The illustrations were painted in watercolor and watercolor pencil, then enhanced in Photoshop. They are printed on a cream, textured, matte paper with my Canon Pixma Pro 9500 Mark II then trimmed and mounted on kiwi card stock and bronze Stardream pocket folders. The reply cards are postcards and each are printed with the recipients name on the reply side and their address on the reverse for mailing. The cream envelopes are lined with kiwi liners.
I hope you enjoy!

An email from the U.S. State Department

A couple of days ago I received an email from the U.S. Department of State. They have a website for sharing our country's story with other countries at Under the American Life category is an area on Diversity where they explore the "look" of diversity in the U.S. Yesterday they began running a feature on religious rites of passage, and asked permission to use my "Bat Mitzvah Girl" painting to illustrate the article. I am so honored they chose to use my art to represent Jewish Americans to the rest of the world.

And, as I was about to publish this post, I got an email from them that they'd even pay me for the usage. Icing on the cake!

It's been a long day...

But, I have gotten quite a bit accomplished in honor of National Progress Day (March Forth!). In addition to making and packaging loads of print reproductions, printing, trimming and scoring cards, soldering pendants and doing some 123Print design work, I also designed three new cards for my own line.

I've had lots of requests at shows for sympathy, get well and birthday cards. So, these can now be crossed off the list of to-do items. I may try to find a few minutes to post them on Etsy tomorrow.

Still want to do a boy new baby card and a more masculine birthday card (and I'm sure there are others that just aren't coming to this tired mind). However, looking on the positive side, I did get lots of work done, and if the others don't happen before this weekend's show it's not the end of the world. And, right now it's bedtime! Sleep tight.